[Lingtyp] R: coronavirus and Zipf

David Robertson spokaneivy at gmail.com
Sat May 2 18:48:53 EDT 2020


Not narrowly Zipfian, but I commonly hear conversations around me in
Spokane, Washington, USA, in which people unwittingly go a step farther,
replacing "Covid" with the more familiar "corvid" or "Clovis". These are
common pronunciations here.

On Sat, May 2, 2020, 3:23 PM Claire Bowern <clairebowern at gmail.com> wrote:

> Around New Haven (Connecticut) I'm mostly hearing COVID, COVID-19, or
> sometimes CV (and of course the 'rona from Australian facebook). These
> generalizations about "English" need more qualification. There are also a
> lot of circumlocutions (not exactly a protective euphemism but somewhat
> reminiscent).
> Claire
>
> On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 8:48 AM Ernei Ribeiro <ernei8299 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Dear Natalia,
>>
>> In Brazilian Portuguese, the humorous form *coronga vírus* (or sometimes
>> only *coronga*) is being used. Coronga is a species of fish, but I
>> think that the word is unrelated to this. This form is used just because
>> it sounds funny.
>>
>> Best,
>> Ernei
>>
>> On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 8:27 PM Paolo Ramat <paoram at unipv.it> wrote:
>>
>>> Dear All,
>>>
>>> the short form for *coronavirus* is Covid-19. As in Russian, Ital. *corona
>>> *means* ‘*crown’; therefore it is not used as clipping for the virus
>>> name;  and there have been jokes like the Russian on Prince Charles.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Best wishes and take care, without Clorox injections as it has been
>>> suggested…
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> P.Rt.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> *Da:* Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] *Per
>>> conto di *Natalia Levshina
>>> *Inviato:* sabato 2 maggio 2020 12:47
>>> *A:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>>> *Oggetto:* [Lingtyp] coronavirus and Zipf
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Dear colleagues,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I'm writing an informal blog post about the impact of the coronavirus
>>> pandemic on language, with a focus on Zipf's correlation between frequency
>>> and word/expression length. For example, the clipping *corona (*from*
>>> coronavirus) *is becoming increasingly popular in English:
>>> https://public.oed.com/blog/corpus-analysis-of-the-language-of-covid-19/
>>>
>>>
>>> I also have some data from Dutch, German, Russian and Polish. I'm
>>> wondering how other languages behave in that respect. In particular,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> 1) Is there a shorter form for coronavirus, like *corona*? Can it only
>>> refer to the virus, or also to the pandemic and the disease?
>>>
>>> 2) If there is such a form, is it used widely or occasionally (e.g.
>>> humorously/creatively/in quotes)? For example, in Russian *koronavirus* is
>>> the preferred form because *korona* means 'a crown'. There's an
>>> untranslatable Russian joke, *Prince Charles finally got a crown
>>> (korona), but it was the wrong one.*
>>>
>>> 3) Is there a popular everyday (i.e. non-astronomic) meaning of the word
>>> that corresponds to corona in that language (e.g. a crown, like in Russian)?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> 4) Also, are there any other abbreviations or substitutions (e.g. the
>>> use of a shorter formally unrelated word, like *car* instead of
>>> *automobile*) related to the pandemic you have observed?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I promise to post a summary if I get enough interesting data.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Many thanks and stay corona(virus)-free!
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Natalia Levshina
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>> Natalia Levshina
>>>
>>> Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
>>>
>>> Wundtlaan 1, 6525 XD Nijmegen
>>>
>>> The Netherlands
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> ------------------------------
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>>>
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>>>
>>>
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